On Monday, June 18, the Hospital Strategic Futures Task Force met for the second time (I blogged the first meeting, too).
Between meetings, the Council members met with hospital administration and learned more about the hospital, its finances, the organizational structure, etc. I’m impressed with the strategic leadership of the hospital over the last decade and how the hospital coordinates the variety of relationships with physician groups, educates its board members, and manages the ever-changing landscape of regulations. The Hospital Board members will get a similar briefing about city issues soon.
Monday’s discussion moved toward identifying how the hospital and city can collaborate for a healthier Northfield. This is a pretty exciting topic these days because there is a huge amount of interest in the intersection of public health and how we design and build cities and engaging multiple community groups in improving public health (for example, this recent piece on how cities can reduce obesity or the Healthy Rice County website describing programs funded by Statewide Health Improvement Program grant funds).
Right now, however, the task force is at a very general, information-seeking stage. We agreed we didn’t know all the groups already working on parts of the community health puzzle or what the most critical public health needs are in Northfield. We also didn’t know the level of commitment the full Hospital Board or Council would like to make toward a community health assessment and subsequent planning – it would be a big undertaking beyond the scope of this task force.
Fortunately, we have some local models we might learn from. Before the next meeting on August 13, we will take a trip to Red Wing to learn about their efforts. The La Crosse (WI) Medical Health Science Consortium is another model we touched on briefly (thanks to Ivan Imm for directing us to this one).